Artist Talk: Tuesday, July 18 at 6:30pm
Community Day: Saturday, August 12 from 12pm to 2pm
Curators Nicole Dowd and Allison Nance present RE/ENVISIONING featuring artists Adele Yiseol Kenworthy, Antonio McAfee, Stephanie Mercedes, Fargo Tbakhi, Jessica Valoris, and Stephanie J. Williams, opening at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) gallery on July 5th and running through August 18th, 2023. On Saturday, August 12, participating artists will lead workshops for DC residents and visitors as part of a Community Day. This project is made possible by an Art Exhibition (Curatorial) Grant from CAH.
Who writes history? The victor? The colonizer? The algorithm which controls our digital feeds? This exhibition brings together these six artists to present work that re-examines stories that have historically defined our collective consciousness and are often used to justify discriminatory biases and systems. RE/ENVISIONING contains a mere six stories in a sea of multitudes of lost or suppressed narratives, featuring work that examines and questions the paradox of nationhood, catharsis through storytelling and reimagining of historically ignored and stereotyped peoples, and colonized narratives that spread and evolve through both diaspora and digital connectivity. The artists’ decolonized narratives ask the audience to consider an alternative worldview on widely accepted norms, traditions, and beliefs.
About the Artists:
Adele Yiseol Kenworthy is a socially engaged artist organizer who creates botanical interventions in public spaces. She explores how flowers have dyed, draped, and nourished social movements and daily reimagines what it means for socially engaged art to exist as collective liberation through self and community care. Adele is currently exploring what it means to cultivate a dialogue that includes the reframing and recontextualization of Asian American artists and the colonized histories of their motherlands, and navigating ways for Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) artists to openly investigate those inherited legacies in their own art practices. Learn more at https://themeowingbird.com
Antonio McAfee is a photographer based in Richmond, Indiana, whose work addresses the complexity of representation by appropriating and manipulating photographic portraits of African Americans in the 19th century, funk and R&B musicians, and transitioned family members. Learn more at https://antoniomcafee.net
Stephanie Mercedes is an uncategorized Queer Latinx artist who choreographs large-scale performances and installations based in sound. Mercedes transforms weapons into musical installations and works of art, and excavates missing violent histories. Learn more at https://www.stephaniemercedes.com
Fargo Nissim Tbakhi is a queer Palestinian-American performance artist and writer. His work creates space for liberation from global imperialism, capitalism, racial hierarchies, ableism, and cis heteropatriarchy. He wants work—whether it be through puppetry, dance, poetry and prose, installation, physical media, theater, circus, or digital spaces—to be even more creative than the forces it seeks to subvert. Learn more at https://fargotbakhi.com
Jessica Valoris is an interdisciplinary artist and community facilitator based in Washington, DC. She weaves together mixed media painting, installation, ritual performance, and social practice, to create sacred spaces. Her art activates ancestral wisdom, personal reflection, and community study. Inspired by the earth-based traditions of her Black American and Jewish ancestry, Jessica engages metaphysics, spirituality, and Afrofuturism in her work. Her art is both balm and blueprint: mapping out pathways for the Black liberatory imagination and reviving recipes for collective care. Jessica collaborates with organizers and cultural workers to facilitate community rituals of remembrance and conversations about reparations, abolition, earth stewardship, and more. Learn more at https://www.jessicavaloris.com
Stephanie J. Williams is an interdisciplinary artist and a DC native. Her work primarily navigates hierarchies of taste, unpacking how “official” histories are constructed in order to understand social coding. Learn more at https://www.stephaniejwilliams.com
About the Curators:
Nicole Dowd is the Head of Public Programs at the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art, overseeing the planning and implementation of museum-wide public programs and community engagement. Previously she served as Head of Cultural Programming at Apple in Washington DC, developing both in-person and virtual public programs and piloting the Today at Apple Creative Studios teen program. Over the last decade, she has worked with and mentored artists throughout the DC region, as Director of Arts Programs at Halcyon and Program Manager of the Hamiltonian Artists Fellowship. Nicole received a master’s degree in exhibition design from the Corcoran College of Arts and Design and studied fine art, art history and journalism at the George Washington University. She is passionate about building meaningful connections between artists, cultural practitioners, and organizations which can help to support and sustain their work. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at The Nicholson Project, a DC-based artist residency and community garden.
Allison Nance is an independent curator and arts administrator based in the Washington, DC region with over 15 years of leadership experience in arts non-profit management for the visual arts. She is the Managing Director of The Nicholson Project and co-founder and co-curator of Plain Sight DC. She was the Director of Hillyer Art Space from 2013-2020, organizing and curating over 30 exhibitions and 85+ public programs annually. She fostered initiatives and key partnerships throughout DC and the surrounding region and broadened artist-focused projects between Washington, DC, and international counterparts. Before that, she was the Target Gallery Director and Head of Outreach at the Torpedo Factory Art Center where she worked from 2008-2013. Allison has curated numerous exhibitions, notably Magnifica (2021) by Italian duo Goldschmied & Chiari in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC, and International Arts & Artists, with funding from a prestigious grant from the Italian Council. She curated Storie Americane: Stephanie Williams, Naoko Wowsugi, Elizabeth Acevedo (2019) at Sala 1 in Rome, Italy, and was organizing curator of Urban Mapping: Public Space Through the Lens of Contemporary Iranian Artists (2017) with lead curator, Iranian photographer Gohar Dashti. Allison served on the Alexandria Commission for the Arts from 2013-2022, ArtTable’s DC Chapter Leadership Committee from 2016-2022, and She currently serves on the Washington Sculptors Group Advisory Board and the Advisory Committee for Dupont Underground. For the past four years, she has served on the City of Alexandria, VA’s selection committee for the prestigious Site/See Public Art series at Waterfront Park.
About the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities:
CAH is an independent agency in the District of Columbia government that evaluates and initiates action on matters relating to the arts and humanities and encourages programs and the development of programs that promote progress in the arts and humanities. CAH is the designated state arts agency for the District of Columbia. The Arts Exhibition (Curatorial) Program provides support for the development and public presentation of visual art exhibitions by District resident curators through grant support and use of CAH’s exhibition space within their building lobby. Learn more at: https://dcarts.dc.gov
- Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5:30 pm
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is located at 200 I St SE.